This excellent recipe from Fine Cooking, published in 2003, is best at the height of the Summer, with grilled fresh corn.  But,  one frozen product (that I am absolutely smitten with) makes it possible  year-round:  the roasted corn kernels from Trader Joe’s.   Their subtle smokey flavor stays sharp during cooking, and the charred kernels add color and pizazz to so many dishes.   I used them in this risotto, and  they made it even better.


(adapted from Molly Stevens)

4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
1 cup roasted (or cooked) corn kernels
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. basil leaves, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat the broth in a pot to a simmer and keep it covered, hot.

Heat the olive oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated with the oil. Pour in the wine, stir, and cook until the wine is absorbed, about 1 minute.

Ladle in about 1-1/2 cups of the hot broth, and cook, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Continue adding broth in 1/2-cup increments, stirring and simmering until the liquid is absorbed each time, at intervals of about 3 to 5 minutes.

While the rice is simmering, combine the tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, and 2 Tbs. of the basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

When the rice is starting to get tender (16-18 minutes cooking time) stir in the corn. Continue adding more stock and stirring until the rice is creamy but not mushy – 20 to 25 minutes total. Remove from the heat, fold in the Parmigiano and then the tomato-basil mixture. Top each serving with the remaining basil and serve.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you don’t have a local Trader Joe’s, then just roast or grill your own corn.  The 10 or 15 minutes on a hot grill boosts its flavor so much that it justifies the extra step.  Adding the tomatoes at the very end preserves their   bright flavor, and ensures a nice presentation too.    Molly Stevens didn’t  finish her recipe with butter, as is traditional in the dish, but even without butter the risotto was substantial and satisfying.   I like to add a bit of lemon zest before plating, and serve it with some additional grated parmeggiano cheese!   😉

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